Falling oil prices help consumers at the gas pump, of course, but also on their mortgages, reports Lorraine Woellert of Redfin.
As demand for oil decreases and production of it up the price falls. When Treasuries are in demand, they get cheaper. And when Treasuries get cheaper, U.S. mortgages usually do, too. That’s what’s happening now.
A 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72% last week and cheap oil is “driver of that cheap borrowing.”
"Cheap oil also adds to low inflation, priming the pump for an economic environment where low interest rates can be maintained,” Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson said.
But it’s not all good news in regard to falling oil prices. “Foreign economic developments, in particular, pose risks to U.S. economic growth,” Yellen told the House Financial Services Committee. Cheap oil is bringing pressure to bear on vulnerable exporting countries, which eventually could affect the economy here, she said. “Foreign activity and demand for U.S. exports could weaken and financial market conditions could tighten further.”
Translation: If the rest of the world keeps hurting, we could start hurting, too.